Minneapolis-based Spyhouse Coffee Roasters is joining FairWave, a Kansas City, Missouri collective of specialty coffee brands operating together to drive quality coffee within communities. Through this acquisition, Spyhouse will be able to tap into FairWave’s marketing and technology resources, plus best practices from the other brands in the collective.

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Spyhouse, which has five cafes in Minneapolis and one in St. Paul, will continue operating independently, led by president Kevin Wencel and CEO Dan Trott. Wencel was brought on as president in December of 2019. Spyhouse’s former owner and CEO, Christian Johnson, sold his stake in the company after a unionizing effort by workers last fall, the Star Tribune reported.

The decision to join FairWave collective comes less than one year after the August organized labor push that fizzled out when 14 of 25 workers voted against unionization.

Spyhouse will maintain the same coffees; but FairWave is planning to expand their equitable coffee purchasing. The Spyhouse Roasting Facility in Northeast Minneapolis will continue to produce coffee. In addition to its roasting facility, Spyhouse also supplies coffee beans to grocery stores, cafes, bakeries and restaurants.

Minnesota Farmers Union continues meat processing work with UMN Extension RSDP

The shortage of slaughter and processing available to small and mid-sized livestock producers is a challenge—exacerbated and exposed by the pandemic—that livestock farmers in Minnesota have been expressing for years.

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In response, the Minnesota Farmers Union and the University of Minnesota Extension’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships program are working to address the slaughter shortage, along with other organizations and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

RSDP and MFU collaborated to create a joint student position dedicated to solving the meat processing holdups, according to a news release.

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Harshada Karnik, a doctoral candidate in the Applied Economics department at the University of Minnesota, is the second hire to fill the position of meat processing fellow, the release said. Karnik has a master’s degree in public policy and applied economics and a background in journalism. Her research interests include rural and community development, local food systems, program / impact evaluation and food and nutrition security. Her doctoral research focused mainly on immigrant, rural and low-income communities. 

“My doctoral research focused on community and rural development and food and nutrition security,” Karnik said in a statement. “But I am realizing in a state like Minnesota where small and mid-size family farms dot the landscape, strengthening local food supply chains will contribute directly to the well-being of farm-based households and communities. Besides, I’m also looking forward to a summer of experiential learning and using my research skills to support family farmers in Minnesota.”

Karnik grew up in Mumbai, India, but has lived in Minnesota for 10 years. Her doctoral research gave her the opportunity to interact and work with communities all over the Midwest. Her current portfolio includes projects to make locally-grown produce available in ethnic grocery stores, evaluation of nutrition interventions in rural grocery stores and exploring the role of food pantries in food deserts.

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